SafeWay Driving Announces Plans to Expand Its Premium Driver’s Training Program Across Texas

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Brand Seeks Community-Based Franchise Partners to Offer Unparalleled Online and In-Car Courses

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When Houston Memorial High School’s football coach Gene Walker founded SafeWay Driving with his wife Jeanne in 1973, he did so with a mission to keep drivers safe on the road. He saw fewer and fewer drivers coming back to school every year due to car incidents, so he developed his own specialized system in an effort to prevent that trend from continuing. SafeWay Driving has now grown into a network of 20 driver’s training locations in Texas, with the goal to open another 10 locations across the Lone Star State this year.

“When I first started SafeWay Driving, I was motivated by my passion for keeping drivers safe behind the wheel. That passion has only intensified over the course of the company’s 40 years of operation,” said Coach Walker. “Our team at SafeWay Driving is just as committed to driver safety as it was when the entire company was made up of me and one car in Houston. Now, through our franchising efforts, we have the opportunity to bring our proven system to new drivers all over Texas.”

SafeWay Driving was founded to fill a void. Coach Walker saw that many teenagers lacked the kind of sophisticated training and instruction that they deserved before getting behind the wheel. They were often limited to either learning from a mom and pop driver’s school in a beat up car or asking their parents to teach them in their spare time. Most schools aren’t even offering driver’s training courses—only 10 percent of public schools in Texas still have an in-school driving program. That’s why drivers all over Texas consistently turn to SafeWay Driving. The brand’s successful practices are well established—it uses an enhanced version of the driving program originally developed by Coach Walker, including SafeWay’s proven “Commentary Driving” technique, where drivers call things out that they see on the road.

SafeWay Driving is revolutionizing and transforming the driver’s training industry. The brand offers an instructional program that isn’t available anywhere else to a wide variety of drivers. SafeWay creates driving lessons for corporate employees who are responsible for driving company cars along with adults who are new to driving. SafeWay also helps guide teenagers as they get behind the wheel for the first time.

In 2010, Coach Walker turned the business over to new owners, including former NASCAR driver Brad Coleman, who became interested in driver training when he hosted distracted driving talks.

“Teenagers today are learning to drive in an environment that’s much different than when their parents were in driver’s training. A lot more cars are on the road, not to mention the endless number of distractions behind the wheel,” said Brad Coleman, SafeWay Driving’s Chief Driving Officer. “Because of this, we knew there was a great need to shift the way drivers are trained to develop the skills and habits that will keep them safe on the road—and Safeway’s premium program offers something different than most driving schools that exist today.”

Instead of teaching drivers how to drive in physical classrooms, SafeWay Driving provides a unique online course that drivers can access on their computers or tablets. The online courses go beyond a typical classroom lecture—they’re more engaging through quizzes and games, allowing the company to tailor its driving lessons to each individual driver so that they can learn at their own pace and on their own schedules.

After drivers complete their virtual courses, they take what they learned online and hop behind the wheel of a SafeWay Driving car to put it into practice. Each franchisee has developed a series of tracks specific to their community that are completed over the course of seven in-car driving lessons led by a professional instructor. The lessons build on one another and increase in difficulty. Drivers start out in a parking lot and then progress to driving in neighborhoods, on busy streets and eventually, the freeway.

“It’s crucial for new drivers to receive engaging in-car training with a professional instructor. At SafeWay Driving, we make sure that our drivers are receiving the best possible instruction every step of the way,” said Ann Littmann, Vice President of SafeWay Driving. “Our team of instructors and franchisees don’t just make money—they save lives. Ultimately everything we teach our drivers is to prevent the phone call nobody wants.”

To keep franchisees and instructors completely entrenched in their communities, Safeway Driving requires that the franchisee lives in the school zone or has an operator that lives in the community. Therefore, the franchise opportunity is perfect for coaches and teachers already involved in their school zone’s training system. SafeWay Driving has also had success with veteran franchisees, and plans to continue growing with them in the future.

With its online business model and lack of brick and mortar locations, SafeWay Driving offers a low initial investment ranging from $57,000 to $159,800, which includes the cost of outfitting driver training vehicles. Franchise territories and the number of cars each unit is assigned are both determined by the size of the school zone. All fees are paid online before the corporate office remits the payment to each franchisee on a monthly basis, omitting a royalty fee, and allowing franchisees to focus on marketing their territories and promoting the program within their school zone.

The brand is seeking franchise owners with a passion for teaching and giving back to their communities across Texas, specifically in Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Austin. With 1,200 school districts and more than 4,000 high schools in Texas, there are numerous opportunities for growth.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to bring the SafeWay Driving System to new drivers across Texas. Our unique, personalized lessons are already proven throughout the state, so we’re confident that more franchise owners will join in our efforts to make the roads safe for the next generation of drivers,” said Littmann.

ABOUT SAFEWAY DRIVING:
With more than 40 years of experience teaching teenagers, adults, seniors and corporate customers how to navigate the roads, SafeWay Driving is the leading driving instruction school in Texas. Founded by Memorial High School football coach Gene Walker and his wife, Jeanne, in 1973, SafeWay Driving is revolutionizing the driver’s training industry through its proven SafeWay Driving System®. SafeWay Driving is renowned for its proven “Commentary Driving” technique where drivers call out what they see on the road. Each driver also receives personalized driving training through both online courses and engaging in-car training lessons with a professional instructor. Ultimately, SafeWay Driving is committed to saving lives and Preventing “The Phone Call” Nobody Wants℠. For more information about franchising with SafeWay Driving, please visit http://www.safewaydriving.com/franchise-opportunities/.

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Lauren Boukas
No Limit Agency
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